Review: Lifetime by Lola M. Schaefer


Lifetime: The Amazing Numbers in Animal Lives by Lola M. Schaefer

Take a unique look at what animals will do in a single lifetime in this book that combines counting, math and fascinating scientific facts.  The book focuses on how many times a single animal will do a behavior during their life.  The facts are based on estimations and opens with a description of how the numbers were figured out and explaining that each individual animal will be different than the estimate.  The book opens with one spider’s egg sac, the sole one she will create in a lifetime.  It then goes to the ten antlers that a caribou will grow and shed and moves on by tens.  The book ends with one thousand tiny baby seahorses, the number a single male seahorse will carry and birth. 

This is a spectacular way to introduce averages to children and estimation.  It is a celebration of the information that mathematics can provide to us about nature.  Schaefer has selected a wide variety of animals and intriguing facts about each of them.  Readers can find more in-depth information on the animals at the back of the book.  They will also find more information on averages and math there. 

Schaefer’s art adds to the appeal of this book.  Her illustrations have a boldness to them, a graphic quality that really works.  They are flat and vibrant, clearly laying items on the page for counting.  The book is a joy to page through since each page offers a new animal, a new habitat to see.

One of the most visually stimulating and smart concepts for a nonfiction picture book, this one is sure to beat the averages and be read more than once.  Appropriate for ages 4-6.

Reviewed from copy received from Chronicle Books.

Review: How To by Julie Morstad

how to

How To by Julie Morstad

This “how to” book does not describe mechanical endeavors, instead it is a luminous look at an eclectic collection of activities.  They include how to look like a mermaid, how to see the wind, and how to go slow.  Others are straight-forward ideas but the image shows a more inventive solution.  How to wash your socks has children dancing in a puddle wearing socks.  How to make friends is the cover image of a child drawing people with chalk.  The result is a book that is an elegant and lovely exploration of the creative.

Morstad creates beautiful books and this is no exception.  Here again she mixes a quiet sense of wonder into the book and combines it with gorgeous illustrations.  She uses fine lines, particularly when drawing the children on the pages.  Their hair and faces shine with the attention she has given them.  The ideas in the book are all creative and inviting.  This is a book that will entrance some children while others will be looking for more action.

Ideal for creative children who look at the world from a more whimsical point of view.  They will make friends in these pages.  Appropriate for ages 3-5, perfect for adults too.

Reviewed from library copy.